Notes: Bruins' power play continues to sputter

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Notes: Bruins' power play continues to sputter

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

MONTREAL The track record isnt great.

The last team to capture a Stanley Cup playoff series without scoring at least one power-play goal was the Detroit Red Wings during a four-game sweep of the Anaheim Ducks in 2003.

Its much more difficult to track down a team that emerged victorious in a six- or seven-game series without a power-play goal. And if the Bruins -- now a pathetic 0-for-19 with the man advantage during their series against the Canadiens -- wind up losing, their failure to convert on the power play will be a big reason why.

Weve got to be a lot better on the PP, said Mark Recchi. Were not getting any sustained pressure to top it off. Were getting one shot or one hit, and its getting blocked down."

The Bruins managed a grand total of two shots on net in their four power plays Tuesday night, and its gotten to the point where theres little puck movement once in the zone and absolutely no creative player movement without the puck to force the Habs penalty killers into unfamiliar territory.

The Bruins seem exceptionally frustrated that they cant get even consistently maintain possession in the offensive zone while skating with the man advantage, and its gotten to the point where perhaps things need to be a little different. The current power-play design isnt surprising anybody, and is certainly not sneaking up on a Montreal team thats seen their power play time and time again over the five years.

Its up to Claude Julien and more specifically assistant Geoff Ward, who's in charge of the power play to start discovering ways to tweak the man advantage, perhaps adding Zdeno Chara to the big bodies down low around the net when things are getting a little rough.

Recchi wasnt biting when asked about potentially switching up the personnel and placing Chara smack dab in front of the net.

Thats not my job," Recchi said. "My job is whatever the coach tells me to go do. Whatever they come up with, well work through it and go there."

Milan Lucic was not given a match penalty for his hit from behind on Jaroslav Spacek that ended with the Bs big left winger's night. He did get a game misconduct and was tossed out of the game.

Claude Julien and the rest of the Bruins didnt want to comment on the incident.

I havent had any chance to really look at it closely, said Julien. You see quick replays here and there, but its something that I need to see here before Im able to comment on that.

Shawn Thornton managed only four shifts and 2:27 of ice time in the first period of Game 6 as the special teams took over. With that in mind, and with a power play thats getting absolutely nothing done, could there be a movement to start playing Tyler Seguin against the Canadiens.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

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Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask and David Backes are back from competing in the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, that doesn’t mean you’ll see those players on the ice over the next couple of days. Perhaps the trio will practice on Monday in the fourth on-ice session at main training camp, but Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that none of those returning players will suit up against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the B’s preseason debut at TD Garden on Monday night.

“Yeah…absolutely,” said Sweeney when asked if those three players have been ruled out for Monday night. “They’re going to get through the weekend here. Next week, we’ll evaluate [them] when they get on the ice. But, all those guys will not be on the ice until next week.

“It might be case-by-case for each guy. Those guys have been playing for a while at a high level. It’s unique for David Backes coming into the organization, so he’d like to integrate himself. I talked yesterday with all three of them just to get a read of where they’re at. But, sometime first of next week, they’ll be on [the ice].”

Both Pastrnak and Rask have checked in with the Bruins media over the last couple of days after returning from Toronto, and the Bruins goaltender, in particular, has plenty of motivation coming off a down statistical season. The 2.56 goals against average and .915 save percentage were well below his career numbers, and people like B’s President Cam Neely have pointed to Rask as somebody that needs to have a better season for Boston to rebound back into the playoffs this year.

“There were a couple of years where the standards pretty high, so obviously when they go down there’s something to rebound from. You kind of know where you can be. That’s where I try to be every year and I’m working on being there this year, and taking us to the playoffs and moving forward,” said Rask. “But every year is a new year where you’ve got to work hard, and set your goals to be at your best. More often than not you hope [being at your best] is going to happen, and I hope this year is going to be a great year for us.”

Clearly Rask wasn’t alone in his struggles last season behind a mistake-prone defense that allowed plenty of Grade chances, and that could be a repeating phenomenon again this season for the Bruins unless the defense is substantially upgraded along the way.

As far as the other three B’s players still taking part in the World Cup, it could be a while for Patrice and Brad Marchand as Team Canada has advanced to the final best-of-three series that could also feature Zdeno Chara if Team Europe is victorious. 

Sweeney: 'Helpless feeling' hoping World Cup players return healthy

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Sweeney: 'Helpless feeling' hoping World Cup players return healthy

BRIGHTON, Mass. – It’s a bit of a helpless feeling for an NHL general manager watching their star players participate in an intense hockey tournament like the World Cup of Hockey that doesn’t directly benefit their respective teams.

Not helpless because of the tournament’s outcome, obviously, but helpless because players could return from Toronto dinged up, or even worse significantly injured.

Aaron Ekblad had to shut it down for Team North American with what many speculated was a concussion, and Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray is out a month, or more, with a broken hand sustained playing for the same young guns team.

So, it certainly must have been an uneasy few moments for Don Sweeney when Brad Marchand was pulled from Team Canada’s last game for the concussion protocol after a nasty-looking collision with Team Europe forward Marian Hossa.

Marchand went through the testing, and ended up returning to the game no worse for the wear. But it could have been a lot worse for a Bruins team that can’t afford to be missing Marchand, Patrice Bergeron or Zdeno Chara, who are still playing for teams alive in the semifinal round of the tourney.

“I would expect all of us to have been in a similar situation. For everybody - any general manager, coaches, staff, you're concerned about [injuries],” said Sweeney, talking about the World Cup and Marchand’s close call. “I mean, especially when you realize the stakes are going to go up as the tournament goes along. The pride involved - it's a risk. There's no question, it's a risk.

“But you also want to see them play their best hockey and they're not going to hold back. Yeah, it's a definite concern. You've got your fingers and toes crossed.”

David Pastrnak and Tuukka Rask have already returned to Boston fully healthy. David Backes should be joining the team anytime now after Team USA’s rude dismissal from the tournament. But Sweeney and the Bruins still have their sensors out for the three B’s players taking part that aren’t quite out of the woods yet before returning to B’s camp in one piece.